WANL 2023: Sibling rivalry at forefront of Souwest Jets’ season opener against East Freo Sharks
With another year of WA netball set to kick off this Friday, the Souwest Jets will be looking to prove themselves as strong contenders in a match-up that could feature a double-dose of sibling rivalry.
The Souwest Jets will be kicking off their 2023 WANL campaign going up against the East Freo Sharks at the Gold Netball Centre on Friday night.
While Friday’s match-up will provide head coach Cherie Farnan the chance to debut some of the Jets’ new faces, there will be an elevated element of rivalry going into the match.
After departing the Jets hangar and reuniting with her sister Rose at the Sharks camp at the end of the 2022 season, star defender Ruth Aryang will likely make her return to the court from an ACL injury against her old teammates.
A double-dose of sibling rivalry could be on the cards, with both the Eastaugh and Repacholi sisters likely to line up against each other.
Midcourter Ella Eastaugh will be looking to make her long-awaited return to the court after suffering an ACL injury in 2021, while sister and fellow midcourter/shooter Sophie will be returning to the Sharks after she spent last year with the Jets.
Fellow Jets midcourter Brooke Repacholi could also find herself up against her sister Jessica during the match.
It comes after the Jets revealed a super-sized 2023 squad as the club looked to focus on player stocks after injuries and COVID-19 hampered their 2022 campaign to just two wins.
While the majority of the open squad comprise of players reprising their roles once again, the Jets will be joined by the likes of Kate Kimberley, who spent the 2021 season as a training partner with the West Coast Warriors, Merene Peyper, in from the Southside Demons, and Amy Donaldson and Claire Pickerill, who have joined the squad from the Rangers.
Head coach Cherie Farnan said spectators can expect to see some new faces on the court after “tearing up the training track”.
“Pre-season, as always, is hard yakka,” she said.
“The girls are itching to get out on the court and get the matches started.”
Meanwhile, the Sharks will be keen to improve on their sixth-place finish after five wins, eight losses and a draw during the 2022 season.
The Sharks feature a formidable squad going into the new season including the Aryang sisters, Eastaugh, Repacholi, Larrissa Harrison, Shannon Eagland, Jessica Penny and former West Coast Warrior Numi Tupaea.
The last time the Jets and the Sharks met was during round 10 of the 2022 WANL season, where the East Freo Sharks held off a determined Jets outfit to win 60-53.
Meanwhile, the Jets’ 20 & Under squad will be looking to continue building momentum and improve on their seventh-place finish from last year in their match-up against the Sharks.
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